A community is mourning the death of a 36-year-old train operator after a suspicious fire broke out in New York City.
According to The New York Post, the MTA subway operator, Garrett Goble, was killed after a fire erupted early Friday morning in a subway train in Harlem. Sarah Feinberg, the interim president of New York City Transit, listed at least nine people as being injured in the fire, although earlier media reports said as many as 16 people were hurt, including five firefighters. Goble was declared dead at Mount Sinai Hospital. Authorities are investigating the incident as a criminal matter.
Firefighters responded to the incident at about 3:20 a.m. on a northbound No. 2 train at the 110th Street Central Park North station, according to Deputy Chief Brian McGee, commanding officer of detectives at Manhattan North. McGee said there were reports of smoke and fire on a train, which originated out of Flatbush an hour earlier.
“As it reached 110th Street here, an employee that was on the train reported to the motorman that there was heavy smoke and fire coming from the second car — that would be the second car in the front of the train,” McGee said. “The train stopped and many people got off because there was a large, large fire on that train.”
McGee said the motorman was found on the tracks.
Investigators are looking into several other fires that had been set, according to McGee. Incidents occurred at 86th and 96th streets within the transit system, as well as 116th street.
Feinberg said during the Friday incident, MTA crew and firefighters evacuated passengers from the train and led them out through the tunnel and an emergency exit.
TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano released a statement honoring Goble for giving his life to save passengers.
“This is a terrible tragedy for this young Train Operator, his family, and for the entire transit workforce. A young man serving the public during a national crisis was killed at just 36 years of age,” he said. “For this to happen, after we lost two of our union brothers to the Coronavirus, is hard to comprehend. Our Conductor acted heroically to move passengers to the platform out of danger, and deserves our deepest thanks and support for his bravery.”
Eric Loegel, the Local 100 vice president representing train operators and conductors, also said in a statement, “The train operator was my age and had about the same number of years on the job. It’s a nightmare. My deepest condolences to his family and friends during this extremely sad time. The train conductor is a real hero. Safely evacuating people from the burning train— he did an incredible job and deserves our honor and praise.”